3 Ways to Get the Best Bang for Your Advertising Buck

You’ve just started out. You need to get the word out. The trouble is your budget is almost non-existent or quite small. You could blow your next three years’ budget on a billboard or a radio ad. Or you could become a small biz guerrilla and seek out the ways to get the biggest bang for your advertising buck.

Advertising is important no matter what stage you are at. There’s no silver bullet here, but there are many ways in which small business can advertise without spending big bucks. Here we will explain how you can effectively spend your money – or spend no money at all – for advertising success.

Stretching Your Advertising Dollar

Here are three of the most advanced and inventive strategies for small business to advertise:

Focus on Social Media

Social media has played a major role in helping small businesses. They are changing the rules of advertising. Because of this, many times “experts” recommend that you go ahead and sign up for every single social media network. However, it might not be such a great idea. After all, your time and money are limited.

Each social media channel is unique, and you need to understand the differences because you need to target your customers effectively. Understand your product or service category, and then choose the relevant platform. For example, business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers should focus on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you have a business-to-business (B2B) marketing message, you should prefer both Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook is the most popular medium for advertising with approx. 1.1 billion active users. You can boost your posts and reach a wider-yet-still-targeted audience even with as small a budget as $30-40 (USD). Furthermore, you can make your own advertising plan for your page. According to statistics, 94% of marketers report that they use Facebook for marketing.

Make it pop with video

Another popular social media trend that is catching on is bite-sized videos. A HubSpot survey reveals that 54% of users want to see more videos from the brands they like. With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is essential to remember that your target audience is flicking away through the feed quickly. If you want to gain their attention, you have to be quick and memorable. So you need to personally connect with your customers through interesting video clips!

Give it away now

Another way to connect with social media customers is through humorous content, polls, giveaways, and freebies. Engage your clientele with something that won’t cost them anything. This will help in building a relationship that will be beneficial in the long run. Introduce interesting hashtags in relation to your brand and present it in fun ways. When you will use these time and again, you will see others using similar tags and this could even lead to free promotion: the elusive viral marketing campaign!

Collaborate with other small businesses with similar goals. This will help you in targeting a larger audience as both your resources will now be combined. You can even get together to sponsor a giveaway in an ingenious way to build interest.

Indulging in Word Of Mouth Marketing Strategy  

Word of mouth is the most effective advertising there is. It used to be almost impossible to buy. Because of the Internet, it is now easier than any time in history. It is an essential part of successful advertising. As humans, we tend to share information about our likes and dislikes with others. This can easily start off a chain reaction. If you want to attract customers, then take your great, inventive product to people who will openly talk about it.

A study by Olapic in 2016 informs that user-generated content or word of mouth marketing makes them 56% more likely to buy the product/service being talked about. But how can you get people to talk about your product? After all, you’re just starting out. Maybe you haven’t even made that first sale.

Encouraging Word of Mouth Advertising: A Case Study

One great example of a guerrilla marketing technique is Paul and Kathryn Sloan. They are the successful business owners of Sonoma’s small Vines. This husband-wife duo made their business a huge success with their intelligent marketing strategy. They used word of mouth to tell the world about their extraordinary wine.

The Sloans cooked up a plan to use the concierge teams at luxurious hotels to guide customers to try their wine. They contacted knowledgeable individuals whose opinion was valued by others to recommend their product. This created a much-needed buzz. Because of that, they were able to bring their products to 2- and 3-star Michelin restaurants.

There are many such stunts you can pull off to excite your customers. Search online for social media “influencers” in your target market. Send them free goods to review. This way you can reach out to a vast target audience in limited time as they blog about your product.

Invest in making a great website. Make sure it will support your marketing style in the future. If you plan to come up with fun game ideas like treasure hunts for your products, make sure you have the ability to post about it on your own site. Allow for customer reviews, if needed, and ask your customers to rate your product and write a brief review in the comments section. A traditional brick and mortar store can be a part of your “break even platform.” You have an advantage because you can use your location to hold innovative events with free sampling of products.

Happy Customers are a Gold Mine

CNBC conducted a survey which effectively concluded that 58% of small business owners scored word-of-mouth advertising as the best way to easily reach out to the customer. So, as a small business owner with a limited budget, focus on creating excited customers and ask them to endorse your products.

Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews online. If you get an unhappy customer, make every effort to utilize this opportunity to woo them over. Be polite. Be humble. Most importantly, make them glad that the mishap happened.

We are bombarded with advertisements every day. The only way a small business can have a chance to win is by breaking through the clutter. So let your product/service be flaunted by a happy and loyal customer to induce positive word of mouth advertising.

Direct Email and Email Marketing

What?? SPAM people?? No way.

Email marketing is actually very much alive and well. Think about it: when was the last time you actually saw a true piece of unsolicited email offering you millions of unclaimed Nigerian Viagra or whatever? On major email platforms, those messages get filtered out and rarely see the light of day. But I bet you’ve opened at least one message recently that was commercial in nature. With adequate opt-in and opt-out mechanisms, email can be an extremely cost-effective way to get attention.

A HubSpot content trend survey showed that 46% of users would want email/newsletter content from the brands they love. Most millennials are deeply involved with their smartphones, so approaching them through emails can mean more exposure for your products/services. But research has found that Boomers and Gen X have an even more positive view of email marketing.

Direct Emails to the audience need to be crafted cleverly. The new generation is impatient and would not make it through long and boring emails. Excite them with cool offers and rope them in. It is also advisable to use edgy and funny graphics or videos in your emails. The “Cards Against Humanity” marketing campaign is a great example. It’s a card game, started by high school friends with funding through Kickstarter. They created a selective mail list and lured in people through creative – often sarcastic and over-the-top – emails.

There are many great software products and online platforms for email marketing that can help small businesses with a low budget. You can choose from unlimited attractive templates and personalize your content according to your audience. Keep your messages clear, short, and credible.

Final Words

Starting a small business, the budget and purse strings are usually tight. Most of the new ventures start off through bootstrapping and small capital investment. Be intuitive about your target audience and communicate a single message through all your advertising media. Personalize your content and directly interact with your customers to gather useful insights about what works. Lastly, we have mentioned quite a few free practices that can be useful for new businesses.

Selected Resources

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